Gambler's Corner: In truth, Kilroy-Silk is a bad bet

THERE ARE now just three calendar months to the General Election, but despite various policy launches and poster campaigns, the betting market remains stagnant. Labour is at 1-7 with William Hill to win most seats, with the Tories at 4-1 and the Liberal Democrats at 40-1. Hill's offer of 6-1 for a hung parliament still stands.

But with the launch of Robert Kilroy-Silk's Monster Raving Ego Party - sorry, Veritas, Latin for Truth - the issue of how fringe parties might do came briefly to the fore. There's George Galloway's Respect, and actor Corin Redgrave also has a party, while the winner of ITV game show Vote For Me, Rodney Hylton-Potts, intends to stand in Michael Howard's Folkestone constituency on an anti-immigration ticket. No odds, yet, on whether any of these can win a seat, but 100-1 seems about right.

More substantial matters loom this weekend notably the start of the Six Nations Rugby Championships and Super Bowl XXXIX (Latin for 39, Mr K-S). The rugby championship is usually between England and France, but a third party should get a look-in - Ireland. They play both the bigger teams in Dublin this season, so the 11-4 for the title seems fair.

We are still in mourning for Pittsburgh (and our 50-1 bet), after their AFC Championship defeat to the New England Patriots. The Pats face the Philadelphia Eagles, our surviving bet (9-1), but this hangs by a thread as New England are brutally efficient. The Eagles' main hope lies with Terrell Owens, returning from ankle surgery. Try a first TD bet on him (9-1).

No horse tips today, after a bad bout of second-itis - Mr Kilroy-Silk should be so lucky.